Sen. Napoleon Harris, III

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Napoleon Harris, III passed a measure inspired by constituent concerns for individuals fighting cancer who were unable to afford a hair prosthesis on Friday.

“Individuals who are experiencing hair loss due to alopecia, chemotherapy or radiation have had endless hurdles to overcome,” said Harris (D-Harvey). “Standardizing medical insurance for wigs and other scalp prostheses will help alleviate some unnecessary stress and remove financial barriers to help provide individuals with some sense of normalcy.”

Senate Bill 2573 would require insurance plans to provide coverage for wigs or other scalp prostheses for individuals experiencing hair loss due to alopecia, chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer or other conditions.

Currently, 13 other states provide some sort of coverage for hair prostheses. In cases where an individual's insurance does not cover hair prostheses, a medical tax deduction may be available. However, in order to claim it, the individual's total medical expenses must exceed 7.5% of their adjusted gross income.

“For many, your hair serves as a key component of their identity,” said Harris. “By providing individuals with affordable access to hair prosthesis we are giving them back a piece of their selves.”

Senate Bill 2573 passed the Senate with bipartisan support and heads to the House for further consideration.